Butovych, Mykola [Butovyč], b 1 December 1895 in the village of Petrivka, Poltava gubernia, d 21 December 1961 in Hackensack, New Jersey. (Portrait: Mykola Butovych.) Modernist painter and graphic artist. Butovych studied in Prague, Berlin, and Leipzig (at the Academy of Graphic Art, 1922–6). He worked in Lviv, Western Europe, and, from 1947, in the United States. He had individual exhibits in Berlin and New York and took part in group shows in Lviv (numerous exhibits of the Association of Independent Ukrainian Artists), Paris (the Salon d'Automne), Los Angeles (exhibiting bookplates in 1933), Rome (graphics in 1938), Brussels (1946), and, from 1952, the United States (exhibits of the Ukrainian Artists' Association in the USA). Butovych's work is based on themes from Ukrainian history (eg, A Cossack Ship on a Rough Sea, 1940, and A Cossack Chaika Boat, 1958), folkways (eg, Chumak, 1959), mythology (eg, Chuhaistyr, 1940s), folklore (eg, Dance, 1950s), fairy tales (eg, The Duel of the Gingerbread Soldiers, 1948; Kyrylo Kozhumiaka in Battle with the Dragon, 1955), folk songs, carols (eg, The Saints Were Builing the Church, 1961) and dumas (eg, Duma about the Escape of the Three Brothers from Azov, 1950s) which are often treated in a humorous or grotesque way. His works include illustrations to the Slovo o polku Ihorevi and books by Nikolai Gogol (eg, Vii), Vasyl Stefanyk, and Ivan Kotliarevsky (Eneïda); numerous book-cover designs, bookplates, and company emblems; series of woodcuts on Ukrainian mythology and demonology and of Greek gods dressed in Ukrainian costumes; and graphic and oil compositions, such as Aeneas, Dido and Music (1942), Zeus Resting (1943), On Lysa Mountain (1955), and the series The Witch. Many of his works have expressionist or constructivist elements.

Fedoruk, O. Mykola Butovych: Zhyttia i tvorchist’ (Kyiv–New York 2002)

Sviatoslav Hordynsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

Encyclopedia of Ukraine